Slinger pages: There is a click, and then a friendly young voice answers. "Yo!"

You paged Slinger with 'Mr. Ngorithan. When you drop off the grid, you really… drop off the grid, don't you?" The voice is young-ish, though not anything approaching a teen-level. "I see you are back in Denver. Care to have dinner?"'.

Johny is chatting quietly on a cell phone, looking over the Menu. If he has seen ZOey, he has not intruded far enough to admit it.
From afar, Slinger chuckles, though there's a brief hesitation before the drop. "Depends on who's asking. Though there aren't many who know that name, I'll admit." There's a hint of caution in the voice, as well. And then sound of a glow-lighter, the soft telltale crackle of tobacco smoldering.

You paged Slinger with 'Smoking causes cancer, according to the Surgeon General. My name is Johan Wulfson. I've been paid a reasonable retainer by a mutual associate to keep tabs on your SIN. Mr. Samuel Clemens. Do you remember him?"'.

From afar, Slinger chuckles. "I remember reading Huckleberry Finn," the youth responds. "Seems to me he was a smoker, too. But yes, I do remember him. A reasonable retainer, you say." He considers that for a moment. "Dinner where? And are you buying?"

You paged Slinger with 'Olive Garden. It's reasonably pedestrian. And it's on Mr. Clemens dime.'.

Slinger pages: Generous of him. When, and whom should I ask for?
You paged Slinger with 'Now. And Mr. Wulfson.'.

Slinger pages: I'll be there as quick as I can. And thanks.

You paged Slinger with 'Think nothing of it. *Click*&'.

Johny is seated in a small booth across the way from Zoey and Julian. He's got a glass of wine delivered and some breadsticks while he looks over the Menu. His table is listed under 'Wulfson'.

Slinger enters the restaurant, his eyes sweeping the interior of the place — looking for someone, perhaps. But then he simply approaches the front podium, and has a quiet conversation. And then he is casually led back toward the table Johny is occupying. On the way, the youth glances around at some of the other tables, including a quick glance toward Zoey. And with it, a simple smile — nothing more — almost surreptitious. He approaches the booth in question, giving his benefactor a warm smile. "Mr. Wulfson?" he inquires quietly.

Slinger finds a chair at the table set for 4. (Place #1)
Slinger has joined your place.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Meditation vs TN 5 for "Centering against penalties.":
1 2 4 4 5 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls 4 vs TN 5 for "Karma 1":
2 4 5 11 = 2 Successes
«OOC» Zoey says, "Oh god, it's like people are following me or something"
«OOC» Johny says, "Its your secksay form."
«OOC» Slinger laughs ;)
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Aura Reading vs TN 4:
1 2 3 4 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls 3 vs TN 4 for "Karma 1.":
1 2 5 = 1 Success
Johny looks up as Slinger enters the area. He offers a nod to the younger man, gesturing to the booth, that the boy should have a seat. "Slinger." He greets. "Call me Johny.

You paged Slinger with 'You know the aura; some bio, some cyber, but not exactly overboard on either side of the equasion.'.
The youth settles down into the chair provided for him, though his wary gaze continues to monitor the rest of the place. "Been a while since I had good Italian. I appreciate the invite," he says with a casual grin. He leans back in the seat, his eyes going distant for a moment… and then there is a look of surprise registering on his features — along with a grin.

Slinger chuckles. "Good to see you again, man," he comments. And then he reaches for his pack of smokes. "Tell me you got a table in the smoking section." A glance at the table in search of an ashtray. "So what the hell's going on? Word I got is that Don Innocenti got toasted? And good to see you again. It's been… a while."

Johny smirks slightly, reaching for his glass of wine now. "See? Now thats whats annoying about magic." Says he then, leaning back. "First thing anyone ever does is gander at my goddamn aura." He chuckles, not really annoyed. "50 fucken years of the Awakening, and no way yet to mask a standard aura. It's criminal!"

Slinger chuckles. "Not from somebody who knows what they're looking for. See, there's one easy way to mask one. And that's to /become/ a new person, to change who you are inside. But that involves work." A hint of teasing in the youth's voice. "Sorry about disappearing. I had some things to do after, you know… after what happened." His voice gets a little distant, with a hint of pain around the edges, as he pulls out another cigarette and lights it. And inhales /hard/ on it, as if trying to give himself lung cancer with that first drag alone.

Johny taps the table, looking to the pack of cigarttes. "Yeah. I know how that goes. Sometimes, you gotta find a new perspective to see life from when the life you knew comes ot a sudden, abrupt left turn that leaves your eyes going this way.." A gesture with his hands.. "and your stoumach somewhere near alberqurque."

Johny talks quietly, if warmly, with the man at his table.

Smoke slides from the boy's nostrils and lips simultaneously, forming a blue-grey haze around the table and its two occupants. "That last thing… I had to take some time off to think. To figure out who I was… and why I was doing what I was doing. To figure out… how killing that many people could be a good thing. I had to step back, you know? I've always been… you know me, too damned idealistic. Always tried hard to never kill anybody — and then I manage to kill more people than anybody since Stalin. Or maybe Mao. They thought they were doing good, too, you know."

Johny nods slowly, thinking that over for a long moment, realizing that slinger is not going to offer him a cigarette. He reaches in to his own pocket, pulling out a package of Marlboro Reds, Hardpack. "It's a bitch of a question, I agree, and not one usually answered on quite such a scale. THere's a lot of platitudes I could through you." He admits, lips now holding the cigarette he removed for a moment as he brings his lighter up to spark it. "It's a question I've always wrestled with. Trusting that the life I take, and I've taken your share… is for a good cause. For the greater good."

Slinger laughs softly as you pull out your pack. "I figured you would have quit or something, when I didn't see your pack," he comments casually. But the words that follow are more serious. "And who are we to get to judge what is or is not the greater good?" the youth asks. "That's what I wrestled with. I had to take some time off. Had to do some quests. Doesn't feel like… what, four years? Five? Feels like a few months, but time does weird stuff during spirit quests. That's all I can say." The youth chuckles. "Supposedly my tradition of magic doesn't believe in that drek, but here I am. And I decided some things. I decided that… if I believe in something… if I am convinced that what I am doing is right, and truly respecting the innocent and protecting them from those who would harm them… then I'm needed. That somebody has to do it, or the world goes to hell." Another hard drag on his cigarette. His voice is a tiny bit rougher than you might remember, just around the edges, the effects of a three-pack-a-day habit starting to take a toll on his handsome body.

Johny settles back in his seat, a cigarette held between two fingers, occasionally puffed. He watches the the younger man, pursing his lips occasionally as Slinger says something that registers personally.

Johny huhs, offering a nod. "That, I gotta admit, is the question. When I was working for the Company, I had that fear but I could pass it up the chain. I could close my eyes and put my -faith- in the judgment of those above me, that they had the best interests of my people in mind. That faith was shattered in 55'. Suddenly, everything I had worked hard to defend, sacrificed myself to working for… was gone. My faith… was broken." He exhales then, sucking at the cigarette after. "Took me many years, Sling, to find some measure of faith again. Took me a lot of… work, to rebuild myself. I have rebuilt myself, in more ways than I can express, much less in this restaurant. It is a long, hard road, but the first thing you need to do, is decide what you -do- believe in."

Slinger nods, listening to your words, and inhales another fierce, lung-killing drag. Slinger has always smoked, generally pretty heavily, but there is a passion to it, now, a ferocity in each breath of the deadly toxins. Testing himself, perhaps, against the dark, evil smoke — pitting his body against its strength and power, fearlessly. "I know what I believe in. I believe that this whole power structure today needs to come down. I'm not stupid enough to go tilting at windmills. But I want it to fall — the corps, the corrupt governments, the petty dictators, all of it. I want to see people be free again. It won't happen tomorrow, but I want to do my part of it." He looks back at his old friend with an air of challenge in his gaze.

Johny grins slightly, sipping his wine. "You know what I say to that?" He asks, setting the glass down, watching the way the red liquid swirls and shudders. "I say, in the end, it doesn't matter. Not the corps. Not the governments. Not the church, not this restaurant and certainly, not this city." He reaches up to rub the bridge of his nose. "Freedom comes when the people want it. And right now, on this cusp of a new world, the people want security more than they want freedom. It's the nature of exploration and consolidation. Economic powers and systems come and go, governments fade. Look back on the last two thousand years and you have the pattern of history. Tyranny begets freedom begets democracy begets abuse begets empire begets tyranny begets freedom. It's a self repeating cycle. You want to know what I care about, Slinger?" He asks, leaning forward.. "I care about -life-. I care about looking at the future, at whats coming down the pipe, and I care about making sure me, my people (Parenthetically he says 'thats homo sapiens in all its many splendid forms') and the place I keep my shit (Again, parenthetically he says 'thats this world') survive it, weather it, like they have never done before."

He leans back then… "Magics not an on-off switch, Kaivan. You know that. THe crap the comet brought? Extrapolate on that. Imagine whats in store for humanity."

Slinger chuckles softly, though he does listen to his old friend's words. "Yeah. That cycle. But the thing is, the security they have is an illusion. It always is. Once you trust somebody who claims he'll make you safe if you just put /him/ in control, he's the one who'll be the biggest threat to it. The corps don't care about people — they're too busy fighting each other. And everybody's losing their humanity, bit by bit, sacrificing it on the altar of expediency. Turning themselves into machines — I don't mean just /ware/. I mean the way they think. I had a fascinating conversation with a young woman earlier today. The way she said it. She said 'I require upgrades'. As if it was part of her owner's manual — tick the box for regularly scheduled maintenance, thank you, drive through." He snorts softly, shaking his head. "That's what people think the world is about today. And… and because of all that, I ended up having to make a choice — kill /these/ people or /those/ people. One person should never have to make that kind of decision."

Johny watches slinger… "No one should ever have to make that kind of decision. I agree." he says quietly. "It's a fucked up thing you got forced in to, Kaivan. I won't blow smoke up your ass on that. But the choice was an important one. And it needed a good man to make it. Lots of people could have made that decision. But many of them would not appreciate the ramification and ripples of their actions. I mean, you had no way to know that Satio would not accept the Japanese withdrawal and would seize central California, but also it would bring an -enlightened emperor- to Japan who would utterly reverse decades of Metahuman internment and murder and help bring Japan in to the modern age of race relations."

"Hell, the Companies best projections couldn't have imagined that. Just the fact that you stood at the helm of that situation, with heart, with respect for life, I think, fundamentally altered the outcome in some fashion. And like you said once… thats not nothing."

Slinger lets out a long breath of smoke, then takes another drag without hesitation. "I know what happened. No way I could have seen it coming. All I did was asked who deserved it. The trouble is… when you get down to it, there /is/ no right and wrong. It's a human thing — it comes from who we are, from what we are. You can't build a machine to do it, to resolve ethical disputes. Not /really/. Even Nature doesn't make a distinction between the guilty and the innocent when it metes out punishment." He toys with the cigarette in his fingers, watching it burn, watching it send spirals of smoke upward in the light of the lamp hanging over the table. "Only humans do that. Homo sapiens, in all its varied forms," he agrees. "And that's something precious. That's something we can't duplicate by turning ourselves into machines. We don't /require upgrades/. We want, we strive, we fear, we yearn… we don't 'require'. Those three words she said… they were profound, you know?"

Johny snuffs out his cigarette in the ashtray, pulling out another. "I find that you are quite right. You cannot make a machine that makes choices. Not with any kind of humanity. If you believe in souls, you can say the soul guides the decision making process, separating us from machines, or even, cloned bodies. Perhaps it is our soul, our spark, that keeps us from simply growing a new vat-body and that body getting up on its own and walking out."

He thinks on that for a moment, letting his eyes stray to Zoey, before coming back to slinger. "Upgrades. It's an odd concept. When a mage initiates, it's an upgrade of sorts. When a man gets a college degree, its an upgrade of sorts. When I move from alpha to betagrade on my cyber-cock, it's an upgrade of a sort, though ironically, going from alpha to beta would actually reduce the size. Luckly, I have enough to spare." He exhales then… "The point being. Upgrade means different things to different people. Maybe that pullstring razorgirl you ran in to tonight, maybe she wanted to be stronger, faster, better and was willing to trade her humanity. Good for her. The world needs it's drones as well as it needs it's leaders."

"It's just not for -us-."

The boy shakes his head. "That's not the point. Of course, we all want upgrades of sorts. It was the /way/ she said it. If she'd said, 'I want upgrades' or even 'I need upgrades', that'd be one thing. Sure, I want lotsa things. Could even be said to /need/ them for some purpose or other. But the way she said it — no passion, no emotion, no… no /desire/. Just 'this unit requires upgrades. Please perform scheduled maintenance. Deposit nuyen into slot to activate device.'." He adopts a nasal tone as he says it, reminiscent of the artificial voices that have long since replaced printed text. "It… it frightened me, I'll be honest, on a level that I haven't felt in a long time. If it'd been her having to make that choice we did… she would have calmly and dispassionately evaluated the relative profit margin and pushed the button without a second thought." He shudders, crushing out his cigarette — and just as quickly ignites another one of the evil unfiltered deathsticks. And then his gaze follows his companion's toward Zoey's. "I ran into her earlier today as well. Friend of yours?"

Johny glances over to zoey… "Ran in to her a few times. Looker, but never had a chance to talk to her on a private level. She's a doctor of some sort, ex Brit military. Competent, her rep is new but solid enough." He shrugs then, looking back to Slinger..

"I hear what your saying. Theres a difference between -bettering yourself- and… -upgrading-. One removes the humanity from it, it takes away the sense of spark and reduces it to a lube job and a tire rotation."

Johny uses a hand gesture to call the waiter over.

The boy nods, flicking his ash into the tray before him. "Smoking is one of the very human things I do," Slinger comments with a hint of a grin. "I know very well it's bad for me. I know that it'll kill me if I live long enough. I hope it /does/ kill me, you know? If it does… it means I'll have lived a long life, and not died in any one of the thousand ways somebody in our line of work can buy it. But machines don't smoke. Machines evaluate the risks and decide that doing something damaging to their circuitry would be detrimental to optimal functioning." He cannot help but chuckle softly at that, though he glances toward Zoey. "Yeah, she mentioned being a doc. Hardly anybody I know is still around. That's the sucky part."

Johny nods. "Most of the old timers have exited the shadows. I was on the twilight edge for a while, until I found, to speak metaphorically, god." He glances to Slinger to underline its just a metaphor. "We've been in this city a decade now, Slinger… Billy the Axe, he died last year. Old age. Galgeron is probably elderly now. I've watched a score of prime human runners just get -to old-… It's a curse, age. It comes and comes, but never goes."

The Waiter approaches now. "Yes sir?"

"Can you ask Dr. Einhart to join me and Mr. Johnson at this table? We'd be honored to have her company."

The elfin boy curls up a corner of his lips, and an eyebrow at the same time. "Somebody needs to show the kids how it's done. Remember, for me… it's only been a few months," Slinger points out. He draws another breath of smoke, falling silent while the waiter is close — and taking a moment to order a soda, before scooting over to make room at the table. A symbolic gesture, but one of welcome. As you give a list of people, though, he nods slowly. "I still look like a damned kid, though. That's the sad part. And after we talk to Dr. Einhart, I want to know all about Daemon and the Don."

Johny closes his eyes, shaking his head. "That… was a fucking mess… and yeah.. I'll upload you on that."

'Dr. Einhart' about this time is waiting for her cabride, though she is waiting inside the main foyer area for it as the weather outside is prohibitively cold and unpleasant. Alot was on her mind, thanks to the pressure of the last few days, so having one of the waiters approach her in the foyer catches her rather off guard. She turns, facing him. "Yes?" .. "Oh, I see. Thank you."
Zoey peeks back inside the establishment, eyesing veering toward the table where the other two sat, considering. After a moments hesitation, she sighs, pockets her hands, and heads back inside, making her way toward the table with her ever-steady, purposeful strides.
"Hello to both of you," she says as she approaches, doesn't take a seat just yet obviously. "Small world?" she offers in humor.

Slinger's gaze is friendly as he looks up at the doctor. "Total coincidence, I swear. I saw you here when I arrived, was sure you were following me. Except there is no way you could have been — you were obviously already here when I got the call from Mr. Wulfson here," he remarks, leaning back in his seat. "I had no idea you two knew one another. I've been out of the loop, as I mentioned before." Another friendly smile — despite his youth, the boy is as attractive as many of his race. Even if he does look too young to buy cigarettes, let alone smoke them.

Johny grins as he looks up to Zoey. "HOw's it going doc? The ribs all healed up?" He asks, gesturing to the spot open next to Slinger. "Care to join us?" He asks curiously, looking to Slinger before he reaches for a cigarette from the pack on the table. "And yes, it's an -exceedingly- small world."

Zoey, smirking, "Oh, and here I thought I had a secret admirier," she says, feinging disapointing, though obviously not being serious. British wit there, perhaps? Then to Johny, "My ribs are fine, thouogh all twenty-four of them hope we can avoid any further mishaps," she says. Zoey eyes the seat as it's offered, and slowly takes it, her form slumping into place. She looked considerably older than did Slinger. Her late twenties most likely by comparison. "No more trouble with renegade dragons, I hope?" she asks, a wry look taking her features as she says this.

Slinger chuckles as Johny reaches for one of the cancer sticks from his pack. "You sure you're up to those, old man?" he teases. "They're strong, I'll warn you. About like four of your pussy Marlboro's." This appears to have been an old debate, one that will never be settled, and the source of much teasing. Slinger startles as she says this, and looks at Johny — hard — with slightly narrowed eyes as he draws on his tobacco, breathing it deeply into his lungs.

Johny chuckles at that hard gaze from Slinger as he lights the cigarette up. "Not so old, Slinger. I'm only 34." He says with a grin. "And she's talking about an illusion that went off early… only the illusionist didn't WARN anyone. So, you know, suddenly, this dragon crashes through the goddamn roof, and whats ol johny do? He tackles the nearest pretty woman he sees." A slight grin. "Only way I get a date these days, assault and battery."

Zoey looks down at her slightly bulging pocket, containing a pack of marlboros. She raises a brow, and smirks, mostly to herself as no one else will see what she is looking at mostly likely. Johny gets an amused look for her however, "Dinner and a movie, works more than you may be giving it credit for," she says. The little eye-narrowing exchange from Slinger catches Zoey's attention for a moment, and she wonders what exactly she or he said to gague this reaction.
Zoey gently rubs her chin thoughtfully - a hbit of hers. Finally, "So, Mr. Wulfson.. Not to sound like one to dismiss foreplay, but.. Why exactly did you ask me to come join you?" Her question seems quite candid, serious. Inquisitive. Not really irate or acusatory.
Weeko emerges through the doors from Colfax Ave and enters the Olive Garden restaurant.
Weeko has arrived.

At the explanation, Slinger visibly relaxes. The kid may run in certain circles, but he needs a lot more practice at schooling his expression to run in the big, high-risk sorts of social gambits. And he probably sucks at poker. "That's the only way you could /ever/ get a date," Slinger says, amusement coloring his handsome features. His eyes move back to Zoey, and amusement is back on his features, the hard look vanishing in an instant. "I assume you were the pretty woman in question?" But he falls silent at her next question, mentioning only, "You're breathing the secondhand from us — might as well indulge." He grins impishly.

Johny grins, looking to Zoey. "Well, actually, Mr. Johnson here was asking after you… and I saw you looked kind of uncomfortable. And I'm never one to pass up a chance to socialize wiht a pretty lady. And you do qualify as a prett lady. And I like starting sentences with And." He looks to Slinger then as he speaks… "Hey hey hey, No insulting the Wulfson mano. I've made an utter ass of myself for less."

Slinger chuckles. "The name's Smith. Greg Smith. I appreciate you trying to keep my name confidential, but it's no trouble at all," the youth remarks, casually. He already gave his name earlier, of course, so there's no reason to try to hide it. A glance toward the woman who enters, before he returns to the quiet conversation around the table.

Weeko enters the restaurant, having a look around, seeing Johny she smiles and nods a greeting to him. She sits down in a quiet corner to put the one crying baby safely under her poncho…guess what she does there.

Johny bravely ignores the breast feeding ork with the trio of newborns. Theres something disturbing about that, on some level. "Fine. Smith." He looks to Zoey. "See? I'm a big fat liar. His names not even Johnson. He's Smith. Greg Smith. You're Zoey Einhart and I'm Johan Wulfson." A pause. "Hart. Deer. Wulf. Wolf." he grins at that, being amused by something in it.

Zoey waves a hand dismissively, "True, though I do TRY to live up to my own advice and not smoke more than required by my niccotine-filled brain. Do as I say, ect." Zoey chuckles softly. "Good, strong names," she says, and idly wonders if hers is the only genuine one. Zoey can't ignore Weeko so much though, as she knows the woman and indeed help deliver her to the emergency room. … Does Zoey know everyone or something? Zoey tries to wave to Weeko so she sees her.

Johny stands up then… "Ma'am. Sir…" He says, pulling out his phone. "I need to take this call." He knows who it is before looking at it it might seem. "I would very much like to have you both to dinner some time, at my home in the CAS sector. I'm just… needing to go now."

Weeko waves back at Zoey, a bit distractedly, as the waiter arrives just at that time. She orders some Orange juice and has a look at the menu while holding her baby to the breast.

Sort of absrubt, but. "Certainly, Mr. Wulfson. Nice to see you again.. You still have my cell, call any time," she tells him.

Johny nods to Zoey, then Slinger. "Sorry guys. Sometimes, you know how biz is. It comes when it comes." he says, moving for the door. He does however, pay the tab for the table.

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) spends 100 nuyen for "Cause, well, I'm like that.".

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